Top 10 Best Two Way Radios for Hiking and Camping in 2019

Last Updated on

Do you ever think of carrying a two-way radio while you hike?

If you don’t, this is high time and you should think about it! A two-way radio, also referred as walkie-talkie is not just a fun toy but is an important device in terms of safety. They are the best ways to get in touch with while being in back country or anywhere else where the use of a cell is not that easy to get.

More...

The two-way radios functions well in the rural settings where there is not that much interference. They are having better range and with the single push of a button, you can very well communicate with your co-hiker or someone else who is away.

Quick Comparison: Top Two-way Radios

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

How to Choose the Best Hiking Two Way Radio?

If you really wish to stay connected with your hiking pals while being at different spots on the trails, choosing the hiking two way radios are the best available option since there are many areas where you won’t be able to make phone calls.

The two way radios are made in such a way that they are lightweight, rugged as well as compactable. Below mentioned are some of the most important elements which you need to check for while picking your two way radio for hiking needs.

Power

The power will boost up the range. Better the wattage more will be the range of your device. Due to the same, in order to have high range, it would be worth if you could get a license for operating on the GMRS channels.

Best GMRS radio & Best FRS radio:

If you are having the GMRS radio, then while transmitting on the FRS channels, you will be dropped to a half-watt automatically as you operate on those channels.

Long Distance Radio

Regardless of the range which you see on the package, in general you will be receiving reception for around 2 miles. The open wilderness conditions are good, especially those flat settings such as plains or a valley. Believe, even your body can very well block the signals.

Antenna

Apart from model of radio which you buy, most probably all the models are coming with 22 channels. Each one of them will be having 121 privacy codes which help lower the interference of the same channels.

So if you are in an area which is crowded or somewhere the people making use of two-way radios, you might be hearing interference on the entire channels. For the same reason, two way radios come with privacy codes known as Continuous Digital Coded Squelch System (CDCSS) or Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS).

This feature will permit you to make use of the same channels what others use and speak out privately without any kind of interference.

best hiking walkie talkie

Out-of-Range Alert

If you are picking a walkie talkie which is of long range, one of the most attractive features which come along with it is the Out-of-Range Alert.

This is a special feature which helps you transmit a code in a periodical manner in order to spot whether another radio is in or out of the range. If two of them are within the range, then the other one will be transmitting back a confirmation code, which you will be receiving as an alert and this indicates that you can communicate.

Digital Compass

Majority of the hikers use long range walkie talkies while being on the wilderness during camping, hunting or backpacking.

If you are planning to use the two way radios for the same, then finding one which has digital compass feature will be worth a go. This will help to show you the direction which you are facing while moving around.

Apart from helping you to stay oriented, it will also help to figure out the location with reference to the other person you are communicating with. This is a good feature for best 2 way radios for mountains.

Batteries

Mostly, the two way radios will be working based on AAA as well as AA batteries, preferably the regular alkaline model. The remaining models will be using rechargeable battery packs like NiMH or NiCad. However, it is always better to go for those flexible models which can use both of these.

 Rechargeable batteries are the best options if you really wanted to save your money, but keep in mind that they have a tendency to lose charge quickly.

This will be true while being on chilly environments and hence those hikers who are planning to hike around during cold climates should prefer regular batteries which provide superior performance.

VOX

This is a special feature for the hands-free operation. This will let you activate the radio by just using your voice. It is a helpful feature if you are planning to use it while hiking, boating or performing any other outdoor adventures.

Noise Filter

This is yet another important feature. You should always clarify as well as boost your signal.

Emergency 2 Way Radio

The best models will be providing you with advanced emergency channels. There are common seven emergency channels which will get news such as natural disaster updates as well as NOAA weather alerts.

Some of the two way radios will even push emergency weather alerts and hence you don’t need to manually keep a track on the emergency channels. There are certain models which will be equipped with SOS options.

This will be coming with features such as flashing beacons, sirens, SOS flashing and also alerts transmitted to other radios within the range. There will be even LED flashlights for the walkie talkies with both red and white light.

Weather Radio

The weather radio feature in the two way radios will help you to track the NOAA weather band stations to check the conditions you can expect while hiking. If you are planning for a long hike, then choosing a model with this feature is highly recommended.

GPS

There are certain models which offer GPS facility and hence you can make use of them for not just communicating with the co-hiker or someone away, but can find your ways around perfectly.

You can even use them for sharing your current location to others and check where they are. This is an excellent feature which helps you to keep track of each other while hiking on risky as well as non-risky areas.

Maintenance Tips

You should always make sure that you clean the dust and the other particles from the two way radio after each use. This will help to improve or maintain the overall performance of your device.

You can use a wet cloth for cleaning. However, make sure that you don’t immerse the device inside water as this may lose its performance the next time you take it out. Importantly, check for the instructions provided by the manufacturer for cleaning it safely and perfectly.

Review of some of the Best Hiking Two Way Radios (FRS - GMRS Radio Reviews)

Our #1 Rated

BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio (136-174MHz VHF &...
BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio (136-174MHz VHF &...
3,491 Reviews considered

Our #1 Rated

Rated 4.5 out of 5


BaoFeng BF-F8HP is an 8 Watt two way radio with V-85 High Gain antenna. Equipped with 2000mAh battery. That means the battery would last for a long time. Could be easily programmed using a programming cable. It has three power settings with at the highest being 8 watts. That helps to get good signal.

Easy to operate. Has a flashlight and FM. Connects to most of the important frequencies apart from other parties. It has a solid make and is durable.

A great buy at the price.

Pros

  • ​Good signal
  • Cheap
  • Long lasting battery

Cons

  • ​Can’t copy VFO to memory or the other way round
  • Lack of channel selector knob

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #2 Rated

Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios with Earpiece 4 Pack UHF...
Arcshell Rechargeable Long Range Two-Way Radios with Earpiece 4 Pack UHF...
1,411 Reviews considered

Our #2 Rated

Rated 4.5 out of 5


A convenient to carry two way radio which comes with out of the box 16 channels with a frequency range of 400 – 470 MHz and 2 wattage power output.

On adjusting the frequency by way of knob a synthesized voice would tell the channel number. It comes with a 15000 mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery. The radio has VOX function.

Interferences on the same channel could be dealt by way of connecting to a computer for setting the preferences by way of cable. You get four of them at such a great price. The pack comes with separate charger base for each Radio. Great clear communication. It has strap and belt clip for easy carry. Moreover you can expect a great after sale service.

A great purchase for your trekking outings.

Pros

  • ​Great price
  • 16 channels
  • Clarity
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • ​Manual asks not to leave it on charge once fully charged
  • Not meant for long range

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #3 Rated

Sale Greaval Rechargeable Walkie Talkies 4 Pack Long Range 2 Way Radio Handheld 16-CH...
Greaval Rechargeable Walkie Talkies 4 Pack Long Range 2 Way Radio Handheld 16-CH...
141 Reviews considered

Our #3 Rated

Rated 4.5 out of 5


A very easy to use, 2 watt, 1500 mAh Li-ion battery with a frequency of UHF 400-470 MHz.

It is light and has stylish design. Solid as well, so less reason to worry about breaking it. You can expect good clarity even if there is a building in between. It greets you when switched on “power on,” and also it tells the channel when switched to. The audio is loud and clear. The radio charges pretty quickly and lasts long as well. Great purchase at the price with great features.

You can use it right out of the box.

Pros

  • ​Great price
  • Solid
  • Clarity
  • Charges quickly
  • Good after sale service

Cons

  • ​Issues with belt clip

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #4 Rated

Sale BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF, 1.25M, UHF, Amateur (Ham), Includes Dual...
BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF, 1.25M, UHF, Amateur (Ham), Includes Dual...
622 Reviews considered

Our #4 Rated

Rated 4.4 out of 5


BTECH UV-5X3 comes with a tri-band frequency.

It comes with 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery, charger base, AC adapter, hand strap, belt clip, PTT earpiece/microphone, Antenna 1 (VHF/UHF), A-V85, Antenna 2 (220 MHz). It supports both wide and narrowband with 2.5 kHz.

It has a filtering which allows full power on all bands. Good quality audio and clear. The audio output is of 1 watt. It has a tone scanning to identify the tone of a repeater. It has a dedicated scan button marked SCN which activates with a long press. The display screen is of tri-colour, blue, orange and purple. The new chipset enhances sound quality.

Pros

  • ​Good battery life
  • Great value for price
  • Great scanning feature
  • Well featured

Cons

  • ​Complicated programming

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #5 Rated

Retevis H-777 Two Way Radios UHF Radio 2 Way Radios Fast and Safe USB...
Retevis H-777 Two Way Radios UHF Radio 2 Way Radios Fast and Safe USB...
578 Reviews considered

Our #5 Rated

Rated 4.2 out of 5


Retevis H-777 comes with voice prompt function using which you can easily change the channel and can easily find the channel used by your group.

Things get convenient with the USB charging option. It comes with 16 channels and can have 50 encrypted codes on every channel so that the communication could be uninterrupted. Transmitting frequencies could be changed by plugging it to the computer.

Retevis’ free software easily reprograms the radio. It even works fairly well in urban locales. The coiled wraparound earpiece would give you a look like that of a bodyguard.

If you are not satisfied you can return the radio within 30 days along with 1 year warranty.

Pros

  • ​Built in mic works well in noisy locations
  • Uninterrupted communication even in urban locations
  • Easily programmable
  • Keeps you well connected with your group

Cons

  • ​The earpiece could turn out to be uncomfortable
  • The shell should have been rubberised for added protection

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #6 Rated

GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio - Up to 36 Mile Range Walkie Talkie,...
GXT1000VP4, 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio - Up to 36 Mile Range Walkie Talkie,...
4,015 Reviews considered

Our #6 Rated

Rated 4.0 out of 5


Midland GXT1000VP4 developed by Motorola provides you a great 5 watts of power which means around 36 miles of range coverage.

It is a feature rich radio so you get desktop charger with AC wall, DC vehicle adapters and headsets with microphones. It is an all-weather radio which means it is water resistant and durable. Being also a weather radio it can warn in case there is a chance of bad weather. It has hands free feature and the headsets make its usage all the more easier.

It has channel scan, could be set to high, medium or low power modes along with vibrating alert. It supports 50 channels with each channel supporting 387 privacy codes. The whisper mode would transmit even a whisper at a high sound level.

There is a 3 years warranty and the piece is also lead free.

Pros

  • ​High coverage
  • Feature rich
  • Weather radio
  • Whisper mode
  • Alert siren

Cons

  • ​Not meant for urban usage
  • Quite a lot of controls

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #7 Rated

Sale FLOUREON 4 Packs Walkie Talkies Two Way Radios 22 Channel 3000M (MAX 5000M Open...
FLOUREON 4 Packs Walkie Talkies Two Way Radios 22 Channel 3000M (MAX 5000M Open...
474 Reviews considered

Our #7 Rated

Rated 3.8 out of 5


The Floureon has a PMR system with auto scan supporting 22 channels. The radio is equipped with liquid cystal display. The automatic scan, scans the open channel quickly. It has battery status indicator. There is transmitting and receiving icons and adjustable volume level. It has an auto squelch function to reduce background noise.

If you are a starter it’s a good buy at the price. Easy to use and with scan features making it easy to use.

Pros

  • ​Long lasting batteries
  • Great price
  • Good clarity
  • Auto scan

Cons

  • ​Usage of 3 AA batteries
  • The lock mode may not be very effective

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #8 Rated

Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radios, 2 Pack, Black/Blue
Motorola Talkabout T800 Two-Way Radios, 2 Pack, Black/Blue
33 Reviews considered

Our #8 Rated

Rated 3.9 out of 5


A great two way radio which sees to it that you stay well in contact with your group while on an outdoor sojourn.

The radio has Bluetooth connectivity and features like off grid group messaging/broadcasting, offline location sharing and tracking. It enables easy group communication and emergency location sharing.

It is compatible with any radio. It is IPX4 rated therefore, can be used in the rain, snow and similar weather conditions. The scan function helps quickly find a channel. The 121 privacy codes for 22 FRS/GMRS channels enables 2,662 unique combinations for a clear channel. The PTT power boost extends the transmission range.

There are 5 different map styles which can record tracks, set location pins, boundaries and view group members’ locations. There are 11 weather channels to update you. iVOX/Vox enables hands free communication. There are 20 call tones to make others identify your call easily. There is battery status alert and meter. There is hidden display and keypad lock for safeguarding your settings which required passcode.

Comes with a 2 years warranty.

Pros

  • ​Feature rich
  • Bluetooth enables for easy usage
  • Lot of group features
  • Map enabled
  • Passcode feature

Cons

  • ​The output power is lower than mentioned
  • Poorly written instructions
  • The user interface not all  that friendly
  • The hidden display may be difficult to read

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #9 Rated

Sale Uniden GMR1635-2 Up to 16-Mile Range, FRS Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies, 22...
Uniden GMR1635-2 Up to 16-Mile Range, FRS Two-Way Radio Walkie Talkies, 22...
1,180 Reviews considered

Our #9 Rated

Rated 3.7 out of 5


The Uniden GMR1635-2 is a reliable and quality product meant for a shorter distance outdoor activities.

It has an impressive battery life. The Uniden has been designed to cut off interference therefore providing a great sound quality. The radio has a Roger Beep tone which eases the functionality letting others know you have stopped speaking along with 22 channels, full channel scan and keypad lock.

The radio comes with belt clip and batteries so that you can use it straight out of the box. The call tone would allow to send an audible notification. There is an automatic power saving which extends battery life. The keypad lock would prevent accidental change in settings.

A great radio with crisp tone and lot of features.

Pros

  • ​Automatic power saving
  • Crisp clear tone
  • Roger Beep
  • Keypad lock

Cons

  • ​Short battery life
  • Does not cover 16 miles as indicated

CLICK FOR PRICE

Our #10 Rated

Sale Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkies 28-Mile Two-Way Radios (Pair)
Cobra ACXT545 Walkie Talkies 28-Mile Two-Way Radios (Pair)
434 Reviews considered

Our #10 Rated

Rated 3.5 out of 5


Cobra ACXT545 has 2662 channel combinations for extended signal range along with weather channels for notifications. Has VOX feature for hands free voice transmission. VibrAlert feature enhances the vibration to better notify you of the incoming transmissions.

If you missed the last conversation, don’t worry. There is a dedicated button to review the last 20 seconds of the conversation. The radio is waterproof.

The product is well priced for the usage.

Pros

  • ​Compatible with any standard rechargeable AA batteries
  • VibrAlert
  • Reverse conversation button

Cons

  • ​The belt clip spring is not strong
  • Microphone volume is not very good

CLICK FOR PRICE

Foot Note!!!

While planning to buy handheld two-way radio for your hiking needs, it is better to go for those models which come with prepackaged headsets as this lets you for a hands free operation.

There are several models out in the market which has VOX support for the hands free operation. This is a special feature which is designed for using with the two way radio headset accessory.

Choose a particular model based on the location which you are planning to hike and the number of days you are going for the trip.

These factors will help you to filter your selection and come out with the best model available in the market.

How helpful was this article? Click a star to rate.
[Total: 51    Average: 4.4/5]
Anupama Pradeep
 

Anupama Pradeep, hailing from the southern tip of Gods own country is a grad in EI and is a freelance content writer. According to her, music, nature, and art are the pillars which she leans on to whenever she lost her mojo. Very passionate to explore nature, she is keen to grab any realistic opportunities to pack the bag and set for adventures. She loves to travel, explore different cultures and has now fallen in love with trekking. Her instinctive curiosity to learn and research on nature, mountains and forests have inclined her to the world of trekking and hiking. Her professional expertise includes working as an SME on a variety of subjects for various reputed content-driven organizations.